The Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants Program (Byrne JAG) is the cornerstone federal crime-fighting program, enabling communities to target resources to their most pressing local needs. The program awards are authorized by the 42 U.S.C.§3751(a).
Byrne JAG’s hallmark is its flexibility; Byrne JAG funds support all components of the criminal justice system from multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces to crime prevention and domestic violence programs, courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives. Thus, states, localities and tribal nations are able to deploy Byrne JAG funding against their most pressing public safety challenges. It allows communities to design complete programs, fill gaps, leverage other resources, and work across city, county and state lines. Only when the criminal justice system is in balance can it function fairly, efficiently and cost effectively. This breadth and flexibility means states and local communities can use Byrne JAG to balance resources and address problems across the entire criminal justice system.
Funding must fall within one of seven purpose areas:
(1) Law Enforcement
(2) Prosecution and Courts
(3) Crime Prevention and Education
(4) Corrections and Community Corrections
(5) Drug Treatment and Enforcement
(6) Planning, Evaluation, and Technology Improvement
(7) Crime Victim and Witness Programs (Other Than Compensation)
Even within these program areas, however, JAG funds cannot be used directly or indirectly for security enhancements or equipment for nongovernmental entities not engaged in criminal justice or public safety. Learn more about funding restrictions.
Applicants for JAG State awards are limited to states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana Islands, the Virgin Islands, Guam, and American Samoa. Applicants for JAG Local awards are limited to units of local government appearing on the JAG Allocations List.
The Role of the SAAs
State Administering Agencies (SAAs) conduct coordinated and transparent strategic planning and implement structural reforms that improve the administration of justice, while saving taxpayer money. With a structure and process that varies by state, SAAs use strategic planning to analyze crime trends, evaluate the priorities of all segments of the criminal justice system, set out a plan for reducing crime and victimization, and guide the use of the grant funds. SAAs are supported in this strategic planning by peer-to-peer technical assistance.
Furthermore, SAAs, in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), are designing, replicating and implementing evidence-based programs and practices that target the needs identified in their strategic plans, incorporate rigorous research, measure performance, and provide an honest assessment of success or failure. In many states, the SAAs have established training centers that help their local partners develop and deploy evidence-based practices.
Many innovative criminal justice practices begun with Byrne JAG funds are replicated nationwide, such as drug courts, methamphetamine lab reduction, anti-gang strategies, reentry programs and information sharing protocols.
In this Section
Use the menu on the left to navigate this section, which contains information about the history of Byrne JAG and funding, examples of recent innovations across the criminal justice system through the lens of the Byrne JAG program, detailsa about the process for allocating Byrne JAG to state and local governments, and one-pagers.